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NASCAR has reached an agreement with Fox Deportes to broadcast 15 Sprint Cup races starting next season, "including the Daytona 500, which will be broadcast in Spanish for the first time," according to Tanzina Vega of the N.Y. TIMES. The agreement "includes the broadcast of six live races" in total, including the Daytona Shootout the week before the Daytona 500. Other points races scheduled to appear on the Spanish-language cable net are at Auto Club Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. While Latinos make up just 10% of NASCAR viewers, the organization "recently hired Ogilvy & Mather to help create a marketing plan to attract Latinos to the sport, and it has put a number of people on its communications and marketing teams to focus on young viewers and Hispanic outreach." To help introduce Latinos to the sport, Fox Deportes "will produce four 30-minute educational programs before the races that will explain the sport’s history, rules, drivers and culture." The net also will "produce weekly and daily news segments to be run leading up to and during the races." Getting Latinos to watch NASCAR on TV "would also be the first step toward getting them to buy tickets to live events" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/20).
NBC London Olympics Exec Producer Jim Bell, who “shouldered most of the criticism directed at the network, is poised for a promotion to a larger role within NBC's news or sports division,” according to sources cited by Liana Baker of REUTERS. The sources said that Bell is “well-regarded" by NBCU President & CEO Steve Burke and is "likely to move up within the next six months.” One of the sources said that Bell is “probably in line for a kind of uber-producing sports role like the one Dick Ebersol -- NBC's longtime Olympics executive producer and former Sports Chief who served as a mentor to Bell -- played for the network.” The same source said that Comcast “is happy with current NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus, who took that post in 2011, so the company may create a new position for Bell, one that would possibly have him oversee the Olympics full-time.” NBC has U.S. rights to broadcast the next four Olympics through '20. Bell received “kudos inside and outside of NBC for openly engaging with the network's social media critics.” While tweeting “under the logo 'Keep Calm and Watch The Olympics,' he responded to questions from local affiliates, tweeted ratings performance updates and interacted with frustrated viewers.” A source said that Bell is “not necessarily set on sports and 'would be open to anything,' even a larger role within the news division” (REUTERS, 8/18).
ESPN/ABC today announced that play-by-play commentator Brent Musburger has agreed to a new two-year deal and "will call the last two" BCS title games before the system moves to a playoff. Musburger has "pared back the long list of assignments" but will remain part of ESPN/ABC's No. 1 college football announcing team alongside Kirk Herbstreit, in addition to calling college basketball with Bob Knight. Musburger said, "I'm not going to ride off into the sunset" (USA TODAY, 8/20).
WRAPPING UP EARLIER: In West Palm Beach, Joe Capozzi noted the final episode of Showtime's "The Franchise" featuring the Marlins will air Wednesday, "one week earlier than originally planned." Wednesday's show will be its seventh weekly episode, but the Marlins "still will have upheld their agreement for eight episodes." The team also "did a special preview episode in April after manager Ozzie Guillen created controversy with his comments about Fidel Castro," which was "not part of the original plan" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 8/18).
TRUE LIVE CREW: In Columbus, Adam Jardy wrote MLS Crew GM Mark McCullers "is happy with his club's television deal with Fox Sports Ohio, but both sides are still hoping for a clearer future." Crew road games this season "have not been truly in high definition." McCullers said, "I’m confident that we’re going to have all of our games in HD in the very near future but the world of cable television and rights fees and the competitive environment is complicated. But I’m extremely glad and satisfied with having Fox Sports." McCullers said that "there is not a timetable to get all broadcasts in HD," and that he "hopes the details can be worked out soon." However, McCullers said that "it seems unlikely that the situation will change before the end of this season" (DISPATCH.com, 8/17).
TUNING OUT: In Phoenix, Bob McManaman wrote, "I'm done with ESPN. ... I simply can't watch it anymore." The channel is now a "bloated, regurgitating shell of its former self." Even when their respective sports are "out of season, we couldn't go one day with hearing something about" Jets QB Tim Tebow and Heat F LeBron James, and now "it's worse." McManaman: "ESPN's circus-like saturation coverage of those two individuals alone has made me walk away from the television set" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/17). N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said of the Jets, "This has been the most incredible offseason about absolutely nothing. The Jets have dominated in terms of coverage. You know how they have ESPN2 and ESPN-This and ESPNU. There was almost ESPN Tebow” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 8/19).